The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just Opened - August 29, 2014 - Concertizing Hollywood

We continue our celebration (from August) of the 101st birthday of Jerome Moross with a trio of composers, contemporaries, who were all famous for their work in Hollywood, and in the Concert Hall... "Concertizing Hollywood."

The Classic Film Music of Jerome Moross
The City of Prauge Philarmonic
Paul Bateman, cond.
ISBN # 5 014929 016122
Official Website of Jerome Moross
My Delight of the Week!  This cross-section selection of film music by Jerry Moross displays his particular gift for expressing wide open spaces of coutryside or the sea.  The syncopated, jazzy feel of the big river in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Suite) are laconic and lyric, and make it easy to see why his work has remained so popular.  His Romanze from "Five Finger Exercise" - a melodramatic potboiler that bombed both from controversial themes and post production PR cutting - has nevertheless remained a work that stands on it's own.  "Wagon Train," "The Valley of Gwangi," and "Rachel, Rachel" are film music scores that have become part of history, and remain highly infectious and listenable.

The Texas Music Festival Chamber Ensemble
TROY 301
ISBN # 0 34061 03012 6
Official Website of The Bernard Herrmann Society
Herrmann and Moross were contemporaries and friends at Conservatory, and then both went on to fame writing Hollywood film scores, while reserving their deepest ambitions for the concert hall.
This CD features chamber music of both, including (arguably) the best known chamber work of Hermann, his "Souvenir de Voyage" which shares thematic sensibility with his famously haunting score for "Vertigo."  Jeffrey Lerner is the featured clarinetist on that piece, and his playing is luscious and melting.  Herrmann's more adventuresome "Echos" closes the CD. The central work is Moross's Sonata for piano and quartet which displays his ability to create melodies that immediately sound like ages-old familiar folk tunes, then bounce them around amongst the players like a rubber ball.  Great musical fun.

Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra
Joshua Pierce
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Kirk Trevor, cond.
MSR 1265
ISBN # 6 81585 1265 23
Official Website of Joshua Pierce
Official Website of George Gershwin
We had only played one cut from this CD today when we received a phone call about what a magnificent performance it was (referring to the Concerto in F)!   This CD of Gershwin works for piano and orchestra is sure to please, with the always top-notch playing of pianist Joshua Pierce, who has been a long term favorite here on WSCL.

A special thank you to Stephanie Clark, our S.U. practicum student this fall, for pulling together the photos, links, and CD information for this blogpost.  Join us next week for more great music, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just Opened - August 22, 2014 - Women Looking Both Ways

Today on Just Opened, we focus again on female artists, performer musicians who also arrange and compose.  Women who both perform historical works, and also bring music right up to the present moment.

Music of Barbara Harbach
Kirk Trevor, cond.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
MSR 1519
ISBN# 6 81585 15192 1
A variety of works for orchestra can be heard on this CD.  Several are inspired by places and regions of America, and have a melodicism that makes these works much more accessible than some of the more challenging or intellectual works of Harbach.  This is an easy pick to add some contemporary compositions to your musical collection, tuneful works by a highly respected working female composer.

Barbara Harbach, organ
MSR 1442 - 2CD set
ISBN# 6 81585 14422 0
The other side of Harbach's career - as a performer and interpreter of great historic works.  This 2 CD set displays her love of the foundational composers, and her technical proficiency on, and commitment to some of the most daunting repertoire.
Kim Robertson, celtic harp
Gourd Music 140
ISBN# 0 9016 70140 2 6
Robertson is arguably one of the best known harpists in the world, precisely because she has focused on music with a cross-over appeal.  Her music appeals to historical early music purists, the folk music audience, and classical music listeners who appreciate the wide variety of technique, training, and musicality that Robertson brings to "the table" (pun intended... "le table" being a term for the harp's soundboard).  She has been established on WSCL for many years before I came on board. This CD includes works from historically seminal volumes, Playford's "The English Dancing Master" and "Sharpe's Ballad Book."   She has a particular gift for mentally and musically cross-referencing works like these with folk melodies and blending them into engaging arrangements that sound both historically "right" and absolutely current.  Having had the good fortune to have been coached by her myself, I know first hand her ability to break things down to essentials, and to take the focus in varied directions while working toward a musical goal.  Aside from the musical knowledge (she studied classical piano and harp) and love she brings to the works we hear on this CD, Robertson is known for her own exquisite arrangements and compositions, her music collections and  pedagogy, her teaching and coaching, and her irrepressible enthusiasm for making traditional music relevant and heartfelt.  If you enjoy exploring traditional and historical music without the dusty cloud, this and other CDs by Robertson are easy favorites.

Laurel Zucker, flute (& composer)
With strings, winds & piano
ISBN# 8 84501 96163 9
My Delight of the Week.  Zucker has been a regular on our playlists for many many years.  She has an impressive, prolific recording output (close to 40 CDs) and on-going concert career.  Early on in her career, she began to be compared to the greats and has continued that tradition of excellence.  She seems to have chosen to focus largely on chamber works, and her own productions and recordings.  These led naturally to her own compositions, and here we have a beautiful mix of chamber works - for winds, for strings, for piano & flute duo.   Some are progressively modern, and many others tunefully inspired by folk music and regions of America.

Love Poems of Pablo Neruda
Ute Lemper, vocalist & composer
with Marcelo Nisinman
ISBN# 0 34062 30020 4
Lemper and Friends give rhythm and musical spice to the love poems of Neruda.  Lemper's voice and musical stylings are not the norm for our "classical/orchestral" focus here on WSCL, but worth visiting, as she has cut such an indelible mark in her trade-mark performances.  Renowned A-list cabaret performer Lemper is known to lovers of great music, theatre and art world wide.

Join us next week for more new releases of great music, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Just Opened, August 15th - The Boys of Summer

Earlier this summer we featured female artists for "The Girls of Summer," so we turn-about with a program today featuring conductors & performers who - still today in these times of "diversity" -  happen to be the primary population of orchestras:  men.

Milos Karadaglic, guitar
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Yannick Nezet Seguin, cond.
D.G. 20039
ISBN# 0 28948 10652 3
Karadaglic seems to be "the anointed one" in a line of prestiqious guitarists destined for great things in the music world.  All ready acclaimed and performing internationally at a young age, with the looks of a movie star (or pop idol), he could easily follow in the star-studded footsteps (or should I say "fret markings") of such greats as Segovia and Williams, if not Leo Brower and Marin Alsop.  Having released two (mostly) solo releases last year, he turns his attention now to some of the most beloved repertoire for guitar and orchestra, with his "back up band" being one of the world's finest orchestras.  Works like these are the easy, natural pick to "painlessly" introduce concert music to folks who think they "don't like classical music."  They are all ready so much a part of the larger media culture that they are basically familiar to almost everyone.  Keep it in mind for holiday gift-giving, and in the larger scheme, keep an eye on the all ready meteoric career of Milos K.

John Axelrod, cond. & pianist
Orchestra Sinfonico Di Milano Guisepe Verdi
Wolfgang Holzmair, baritone
Dame Felicity Lott, soprano
TELARC 34659 (2 CD set)
ISBN# 8 88072 34659 8
I think time will look back on these days of great music as the day of "the package" and interesting programmatic combinations being as important as the music itself, making this set a representative of today's concert zeitgeist, and so - My Delight of the Week.  This is the second offering in this inventively constructed set that pairs the major orchestral works of Brahms with art songs of his "Immortal Beloved," Clara Wieck Schumann.  The Symphonies featured here are Numbers one and two, and this time the singers are established, big name, mature performers who bring all their gifts to the table.

Torsten Juul-Borre, piano
Self Published Release
ISBN #7 00261 30356 7
For information and purchase
CD available through CDBaby and other online sources.
Many American pianists say they have been trained in the European tradition, usually tracing a line a teachers back to Europe.  Juul-Borre is one who actually studied in Europe (Denmark) in an extensive 7 year program focused not only on piano, but also organ.  For centuries, some have said that playing organ can ruin your "touch" at the piano.  Fortunately for us, Juul-Barre has defeated the odds, and is known for incredible sensitivity of phrasing and tone, as evidenced in the attached review:  Review of "To Spring"  Juul-Borre has a true world-wide carreer, with an extensive concert career in Denmark and here in the states as well.  While this CD includes the little known Piano Sonata of Frederic Balazs (in a performance that drew appreciative raves from the composer himself), the rest of the program is made up of recognizable, beloved works from the Romantic and late Romantic era - familiar enough to please -  in artistically literate performance.

Join us next Friday for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Opened - August 1, 2014

We are celebrating the anniversary of the 101st birthday of American comoposer Jerome (Jerry) Moross.  As with his contemporary & pal, Bernard Hermann, Moross not only famously composed for film (The Golden Apple, The 7 Wonders of the World, and the academy award nominated score for The Big Country), he also composed for the Concert Hall, chamber music and ballet.

Joann Falletta, cond.
London Symphony Orchestra
ISBN # 0 34061 14032 0
 3 major orchestral works of the composer best known for his film scores.   This particular combination of works play on the lush tune-ful qualities found in his film work.  His Symphony No. 1 begins with a big sweeping sound similar to Copeland (the kind of sound used in his score for The Big Country), followed by a skipping, spritely, jazzy 2nd movment that features a piano... almost a piano concerto within a symphony.  Moross considered his ballet score for "The Last Judgement" to be one of his best works.  It too is infused with a "wide open" bucolic sound, infused at times with more jazzy, urban musical elements.  His  "Variations on a Waltz" takes the classical theme and variations concept and plays with both style and substance through the variations, and hints at influences of Bernstein.  Far from the usual turgid, brooding complexity of many contemporary composers, this is completely accessible modern orchestral music, an easy addition to a music library.

Katarzyna Musial, piano
ISBN# 5 015959 462125
Polish/Canadian pianist Musial has attracted a round of awards, apparently as easily as her shock of bright auburn hair attracts attention to her beauty.  It's clear that she is an artist on the rise with a sense of awareness and showmanship.  Her provocative "Come Dance With Me" (the cover of which elicited comments from co-workers, "I'll dance with you, baby!") takes the tried-and-true formula of dance inspired works and turns it sideways by the choice of many modern composers like Mompou, Ginastera, Messiaen, Gorecki & Lecuona.   A not-for-everyone saucy mix of sometimes inaccessible modern european composers paired alongside the toe-tapping tunefulness of many spanish or spanish-influenced composers.  This particular "showcase" CD of a hot young artist shows tremendous polish and flair in a very savvy, technically polished presentation.

Anthony McGill, clarinet
Pacifica Quartet
ISBN# 7 35131 91472 7
My Delight of the Week.  McGill, principal clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra joins the Pacifica Quartet after they have completed their cycle of recordings of Shostakovitch with this change-of-pace that will be very welcome to many.  Both Mozart and Brahms had a particular genius for the blending of the clarinet with strings, and these solid, traditional works are the perfect way for Pacifica to reach out - for the first time - to include a soloist of McGill's talent.

Join us again next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fill Music Friday - July 25, 2014

We continue our summer exploration of the great releases old and new that are on our fill music shelves.  As many of these CDs are older, most are not only available online, but also available on several sources slightly  used, for a very low price!

The Jane Austen Companion
Compilation CD (mostly orchestral)
works of Mendelssohn, Haydn, Boyce,
Mehul, Bach and Schubert
NIMBUS 7032 (1996)
ISBN # 7 10357 70322 5
Music popular during the period of Jane Austen's life.
Duets for Mandolin and Guitar
Butch Baldassare, mandolin
John Mock, guitar
ISBN# 7 233-- 12512 2
Mostly traditional, all tuneful, works transcribed for the delightful pairing of mandolin and guitar.
The Complete Songs, Vol. 4
Monica Groop, mezzo soprano
Roger Vignoles, piano
BIS #1257 (2002)
In the extended labor of love and artistic committment, renowned mezzo Group continues her affair with the songs of Edvard Grieg.  This CD includes 5 Poems of John Paulsen, 12 melodies of A.O. Vinje (which focus on relationships), and closing with "Songs without Opus" we have a random grouping, many of which are nature songs like "Little Bird" and "Blueberry."

Music of the French Baroque Court & Theatre
Chatham Baroque (original instruments)
ISBN# 0 53479 02722 1
My Delight of the Week! This CD is a personal favorite of mine.  French baroque dance suites by Lully, Mehul, Charpentier, Mouret and more.
(Self Titled CD) (1998)
ISBN# 7 91022 07922 7
This early release of the popular chamber group is still available through their webiste. works by Piazzola, Donato, Gade, Lara, and more.
Compilation CD, various artistist
D.G. #15651 (2011 - 2 CD set)
ISBN# 0 28947 79526 1
Great piano artists playing solo works and show-stoppers of the first great piano performer, Franz Liszt, including a few works with piano and orchestra.
Pianist (2011)
ISBN# 8 84501 46366 9
The actual CD we aired on this program may have been a promo CD only sent to radio stations, as I do not see it on his website.  It includes the solo piano version of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Pandolfi's Improvisation on Gershwin Melodies, Wild's Etude on "Lady Be Good," Pandolfi's arrangement of Weber's "All I Ask of You," and Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag."   CDs available through his website.

Mormon Tablernacle Choir
23 Patriotic Favorites
SONY 48295 (1973/1976)
ISBN# 0 7464 48295 2
Neville Marriner, cond.
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Phillips 442 406 (1994)
ISBN# 0 28944 24062 7
Orchestral "lollipops" - short, sweet, and  fun works for orchestra, with 2 songs thrown in featuring soprano Karita Mattila.

We hope you enjoied this musical buffet of music from our fill shelves!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just Opened - July 18th, 2014 - "The Girls of Summer"

 It's summer, and "the boys of summer" has been a regluar part of beach lingo, so this week we explore music of "the girls of summer" - summer releases by women who make music.

Rediscovering a Dutch Master
Aleksandra Maslovaric, violin
ISBN# 8 52675 75731 1
Maslovaric and Feminae records have been instrumental in bringing works of female composers to light that might well be overlooked and forgotten.  In the case of Elizabeth Kuyper, we have a woman of considerable talent who was championed by Max Bruch.  A great way to hear great music, rediscover a little known artist, hear exceptionally talented musicians, and support women in the arts - all at once!

Caroline Leonardelli, solo harp
ISBN# 8 29982 15046 2
Thank you to Centaur Classics for providing us with promo copies of this CD for give-away to our listeners!
In the tradition of many great musicians whose work is "in the family,"  Leonardelli's mother was a harpist, and also a friend of the great international harpist Lilly Laskine.   At an early age, Leonardelli was studying at the Paris Conservatoire with Laskine.  This CD which focuses on french Composers of the late Romantic, early Modern era pays homage both to this great period of harp literature (shedding light on several rarely heard masterpieces), and her personal heritage with Laskine, including some works previously recorded by her teacher.  Leonardellis is quickly becoming my personal favorite harpist, with her exquisite technique and phrasing, and her taste in musical selections.  My Delight of the Week.

Marianna Shirinyan, piano
Odense Symphony Orchestra
Scott Yoo, cond.
ISBN# 0 90404 94082 8
Winner of 5 ARD International Music Competition awards in 2006, Shirinyan has become a frequent guest artist at music festivals internationally.  She has gained a reputation as one of the leading pianists of a new generation.  Here playing two Mozart piano concertos.

Seunghee Lee, clarinet
ISBN# 8 88174 45939 4
This is a delectable buffet of small melodic works where clarinet gives voice to the lyric line.  Famous hummable tunes from Brahms, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Puccini, Donizatti, and Bach, to name just a few.  The effect is a full program of audience-pleasing finales!  Many of these are transcribed by Ms. Lee herself, and indeed she gets as much praise for her talent at arrangement as her "warm, rich, round" tonality.

Divna Ljubojevic, vocals/cantor
For info. and CD purchase
Known simply as "Divna" this Serbian vocalist has carved a sizable name for herself in the world of sacred music and the interpretation of historic texts.  She is considered the leading specialist in the music traditions of Orthodox, Christian, and Byzantine churches.

We hope you enjoied these new releases by female artists, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fill Music Friday, July 11th

We continue to share releases old and new from our fill shelf - works that have been featured on Just Opened in the past, that (usually) feature many small cuts, making them perfect for "fill music."

5 CD compilation release (2008)
ISBN# 0 28947 80223 3
The Ultimate Guitar Collection #2
RCA 63713 (2000)
ISBN# 0 9026 63713 2 7
Richard Kapp, cond.
Philharmonia Virtuosi
RCA 61911 (1993)
ISBN# 0 9026 61911 2 3
Mela Tenenbaum
Richard Kapp, piano
ESS.A.Y. 1055 (1997)
ISBN# 0 90998 10553 5
Film Music Collection
2 CD Set (1998)
ISBN# 7 38572 10892 2
The Rembrandt Trio
DORIAN 90222 (1995)
ISBN# 0 53479 02222 6
works by CHOPIN
Various Artists/Compilation CD
D.G. 453 906 (1997)
ISBN# 0 28945 39062 8
Romantic Music for Cello & Orchestra
Various Artists/Compilation CD
NAXOS 555764 (2002)
ISBN# 7 47313 57642

We hope you've enjoied exploring these refreshing musical tidbits, a light musical snack for your summer listening.
Kara Dahl Russell


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